Smoking, nutrition, alcohol, physical activity (SNAP)

☰ Table of contents

Many organisational activities can support the implementation of SNAP interventions within the practice.

Table 16. Putting SNAP into practice

Organisational activities supporting SNAP


Searching your database for eligible patients

Searching records to identify patients for assessment or follow-up of previous behavioural interventions

Recording and accessing information on patient risks

Ensuring risk factors are recorded so they can easily be searched and audited

Accurate recording of clinical data using coded selection options in the practice software

Refer to the RACGP’s Quality health records in Australian primary healthcare: A guide 

Updating and managing tools to assist in patient assessment and management within the consultation

Culturally appropriate assessment tools, patient education materials and aids from a variety of resources that consider ranges in the literacy and health literacy of your practice population

Educating patients and carers about risk factors and self-management

Patient education sessions, managing access to information, practice newsletters, practice website, new patient information packs

Managing referral and communication of patient information

Directories, reports, assistance with navigation to referral services or programs

Contacting patients for follow-up and help in maintaining lifestyle changes

Registers, phone and mail recall, flagging records

Quality improvement

Audit, review of existing practices

Planning for sustainability of your SNAP activity

Identify roles for staff and funding for preventive activities

The main barriers to implementation of SNAP at the practice level include:

  • a lack of time (especially during consultations). Assessing or intervening in a consultation for single risk factors can take 2–10 minutes
  • practice information systems not geared to support SNAP assessment and management
  • a lack of organisation within the practice, including a team approach to management with responsibilities shared by many providers
  • difficulty linking with, getting support from, and referring to population health services
  • a lack of financial incentives or funding to pay for involvement of non-medical staff.

These barriers can be overcome, to some extent, by the development of a SNAP business model, including:

  • setting practice priorities
  • listing the roles each practice member currently undertakes and how SNAP interventions can be integrated into these existing roles and responsibilities
  • identifying training needs and ensuring all members of the team have appropriate training to undertake SNAP activities, (eg. motivational interviewing, Quit Program)
  • providing staff with some protected time to set up SNAP activity
  • reviewing the way in which appointments and follow-up are arranged
  • establishing information systems to support SNAP interventions
  • conducting ongoing quality improvement programs
  • developing links with local services (eg. health promotion services, local primary health agencies and networks, health-related non-government organisations and community groups).

Patients should be made aware of any out-of-pocket expenses they may be charged for the care provided by the general practice or referral service to support the SNAP activities.